The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, says the Federal Inland Revenue Services, FIRS, will continue to collect Value Added Tax, VAT, because it was the FIRS, that had been collecting the VAT before the dispute arose over which the Rivers State Government approached the High Court.
The AGF stated this in a chat with newsmen in New York, while speaking on the disagreement over the collection of VAT between the Rivers State Government and FIRS.
According to him, the ruling of the Court of Appeal on the matter that the parties, Federal Inland Revenue Services, FIRS and the Rivers State Government, should maintain status quo, was in favour of the FIRS.
He explained that the position of the federal government, and indeed the Judiciary, is the fact that status quo associated with the collecting of Value Added Tax, VAT, should be maintained, noting that the status quo, as at the time the parties approached the court, it was the Federal Inland Revenue Services, FIRS, that was indeed collecting the VAT.
He opined that the Federal Government has, therefore, succeeded in obtaining an order that establishes the sustenance of the status quo, which is that Federal Inland Revenue Services, FIRS, should continue collection of the Value Added Tax, pending the cases that were instituted by the Rivers State Government and the Lagos State Government respectively.
The AGF further disclosed that the federal government is taking steps to consider the possibility of instituting an action before the Supreme Court to determine the VAT matter once and for all.
He also stressed that a thing of interest is that the Federal Government has taken cognisance of the fact that where there exists a dispute between a state and Federal Government, it is the Supreme Court that should naturally have the jurisdiction to determine the dispute between the state and the Federation.